Track 9 - Texas and the Sun Belt

During the streamliner era the Sun Belt was not the economic powerhouse we think of today. To be honest, it was a bit of a backwater. Even so, the region supported a respectable amount of railroad activity and was home to a number of memorable long distance trains.


The Trains:

The Angelo

Santa Fe operated this service between Dallas, Fort Worth and San Angelo. It also connected with the California Special for Lubbock, Clovis, Belen and California.
The Angelo - August, 1944

The Argonaut

Southern Pacific's heavyweight secondary service on the Sunset Route between New Orleans and Los Angeles via Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, and Tucson.
The Argonaut - April, 1955

The Arizona Limited

First all-private-room train in the west, this train aimed at the winter vacationers traffic would operate between Chicago and Phoenix over the Golden State Route for only two seasons.
Arizona Limited - December, 1940

The California Special

This Santa Fe train fed passengers from New Orleans (via Missouri Pacific), Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth to the company's transcontinental trains on the Belen Cutoff route at Clovis, New Mexico. Operated via Brownwood, Sweetwater, and Lubbock.
Trains 6-75-92-97-23 and 24-98-91-76-5 - August, 1944
California Special - July, 1954
California Special - July, 1966

The Golden State

The Sunbelt's transcontinental service operated by the Rock Island and Southern Pacific between Chicago and Los Angeles via Tucumcari, El Paso, and Phoenix.
Golden State Limited/The Californian - June, 1916
Golden State - December, 1948
Golden State - March, 1968

The Houstonian/The Orleanean

Missouri Pacific operated this pair of trains between New Orleans and Houston, via Baton Rouge and Beaumont.
The Houstonian/The Orleanean - May, 1957

The Imperial

Secondary service on the Golden State Route between Chicago and Los Angeles which also served San Diego via the San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway.
The Imperial - August, 1950

The Lone Star

Cotton Belt's overnight passenger service between Memphis and Dallas, with a through sleeper operated between Memphis and Shreveport.
Lone Star - March, 1951

The Louisiana Eagle

Texas & Pacific Railway service between New Orleans, Shreveport, and Dallas-Fort Worth which also handled through cars from New Orleans to Little Rock via Monroe.
Louisiana Eagle - August, 1952

The Meteor

The St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) operated this overnight service between St. Louis, Springfield, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City.
The Meteor - December, 1948

The Morning Star

Cotton Belt service between Dallas and Memphis (connecting with Southern's Tennessean) and sometime service to St. Louis.
Morning Star - June, 1941

The Ranger

Santa Fe's heavyweight service on the Chicago to Galveston run in the years before the Texas Chief.
The Ranger - August 1944

The Sam Houston Zephyr

The Burlington's entry in the express passenger market between Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston. Paired with Rock Island's Texas Rocket up until the 1945 debut of the Twin Star Rocket.
Sam Houston Zephyr/Texas Rocket - December, 1941
Sam Houston Zephyr - August, 1950

The Sunbeam / The Hustler

Southern Pacific's streamliner service between Dallas and Houston.
Sunbeam/Hustler - August, 1950

The Sunset Limited—A FOCUS Train

The quintessential Sun Belt train, the Southern Pacific's Sunset Limited traversed the entire breadth of Texas—all 927 miles of it—on its way from New Orleans to Los Angeles via Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, and Phoenix.
Sunset Limited - August, 1950
Sunset Limited - May 1957
Streamliner Sunset - September, 1960
Streamliner Sunset - December, 1964
Streamliner Sunset - June, 1968
Streamliner Sunset - April, 1971

The Texas Chief

The Santa Fe Railway's premier entry in the Texas market, this train connected Chicago to Houston/Galveston by way of Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita, Oklahoma City and Fort Worth.
Texas Chief - December, 1948
Texas Chief - March, 1967
Texas Chief - April 1971

The Texas Eagle

The Texas Eagle was not just a train—it was a franchise. Under the umbrella of this name, the Missouri Pacific operated a veritable spiderweb of trains linking St. Louis and Memphis with Houston, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, and El Paso.
Texas Eagle - December, 1948
Texas Eagle - December, 1952
Texas Eagle/Sunshine Special - October, 1958
Texas Eagle - June 1967

The Texas Special

This streamliner, jointly operated by the Frisco and the Katy through 1959, connected St. Louis with San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth with connecting service to Wichita Falls. (After 1959, service was all-Katy originating in Kansas City.)
Texas Special - December, 1948
Texas Special/The Bluebonnet - May, 1957
Texas Special/Trains 5 & 6 - September, 1960

The Texas Zephyr

Streamliner service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Denver, operated by the Burlington's Colorado and Texas affiliates.
Texas Zephyr - June, 1941
Texas Zephyr/Trains 27-7 & 8-28 - September, 1960

The Twin Star Rocket

Stretching over 1300 miles from Minneapolis to Houston via Kansas City and Dallas/Fort Worth, this was Rock Island's longest passenger run under its own management.
Twin Star Rocket - August 1945
Twin Star Rocket - July, 1957
Twin Star Rocket - August 1963

See Also:

Track 12: The Waco, Beaumont, Trinity & Sabine Railway
All comments, original material and page design copyright 2006-2015 by Eric H. Bowen. Page modified 2015-09-06.